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12.23.2009

cop charged in fatal dui crash

In Cook County, Illinos, an off-duty Lockport police officer is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol -- nearly three times over the legal limit -- when he caused the fatal accident that killed 29-year-old Man K. Wong on the Stevenson Expressway: Cop accused of fatal DUI was 3 times legal limit.

Prosecutors say Edward Stapinski drove his Mitsubishi Gallant about 80 mph into a median on Interstate Highway 55 Sunday night, flipping his car into oncoming traffic and hitting a Toyota Camry head-on. Man K. "Mike" Wong was killed in the crash. Blood tests showed Stapinski's blood-alcohol level was 0.223, or about three times the legal limit.

Stapinski is charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence. If convicted, he could face 3 to 14 years in prison.

The officer's knee was hurt in the crash, and his face was cut up. All things considered, he was lucky to walk away from that wreck alive. The other guy wasn't so lucky. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead. And all he was doing was driving down the expressway, coming home from work on a Sunday night.

The guy's been a cop for seven and a half years -- he, of all people, should know better. Now Wong's family is worried that the court will be lenient on Stapinski because he's a police officer. They obviously want justice. Shouldn't the fact that he's a cop be all the more reason to make sure he pays for what he's done? More here: Off-duty Lockport cop charged with reckless homicide, DUI.